image credit: whatsthatbug.com
Habitat: eastern US to the Rocky Mountains
Status: No conservation concerns
The Rainbow Scarab Beetle (Phanaeus vindex) certaintly does have its looks going for it… but that’s about it. You see, these are actually DUNG BEETLES! That’s correct. They love themselves some poop. Huge, steaming, piles of poop. A fresh pile of poop can attract Dung Beetles in a matter of minutes. Not only do these guys eat poop, but they are constantly searching for it because that’s where Rainbow Scarabs hatch their young.
Females will lay their eggs into pre-rolled balls of dung so that the larva can feed on the … feces … once they hatch. Grubs get super fat in their poopy homes until they are old enough to become adult Rainbow Scarabs; then they change into a pupa (resting stage) before metamorphosing into a hungry adult. Can you guess what they’re hungry for?